General Aztecs Maya Tocuaro Kids Contact 20 May 2019/5 Alligator
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Did the Aztecs have war chants?

ORIGINAL QUESTION received from - and thanks to - Ixtaca Yaotl: Hi I have been looking at your site, I am impressed by some of the info you have on here, but I have a question that no one seems to answer which is, what type of martial arts did the Mexica/Aztecs have; also did the Mexica/Aztecs have any war chants like the Polynesians did? (Answered by Ian Mursell/Mexicolore)

Artist’s impression of part of an Aztec battle line
Artist’s impression of part of an Aztec battle line (Click on image to enlarge)

Martial arts: not that we know of.
War chants: we know warriors always chanted the name of the community/town they came from/represented as they ran forwards in battle; we also know the Mexica (Aztecs) had a whole genre of song about war. This was called, in Náhuatl, yaocuicatl. There are several examples in the manuscript called Cantares Mexicanos. Gary Tomlinson writes, in his book The Singing of the New World:-
These war songs tend to share the vocabulary characteristic of summer and flower songs [other genres], but they merge it also with their own images: of weapons, shields, eagles and jaguars, dusty battlefields, and chalk and feather regalia.

Learn more about Aztec poetry - and the key theme of war and warrior spirits - from John Bierhorst (link below...)

Image detail by Adam Hook, courtesy of Osprey Publishing.

“How Aztec Poetry Works’

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